People like Jason Bzdula shows that we as a nation depend on everyone from all walks of life to provide us with food, fiber, and fuel.
On June 21, 2024 members of the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) of North Carolina (N.C.) visited the farm of Jason Bzdula, owner and operator of Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm in Durham N.C. Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm is a small farm, specializing in produce that is not widely grown in the central North Carolina area and certified naturally grown since 2020.
To be considered Certified Naturally Grown, a farm must adhere to strict standards, which include:
• Absolutely no use of synthetic chemical pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers.
• Employing holistic practices that work with nature to address pest, disease, and nutrient challenges, minimizing use of approved sprays, treatments and amendments.
• Investing in our soil, water, wildlife, and air with ecological practices such as conserving water, planting cover crops, rotating crops, preserving buffer strips and protecting pollinator habitats.
• Providing animals with a -healthy environment, sufficient room to grow and thrive, and feed that's free from any hormones or antibiotics.
• Always striving to enhance the positive environmental impacts of production, minimize any negative impacts, and continually improve the sustainability of the operation.
Mr. Bzdula has just recently started working with USDA-NRCS in N.C. with his application of a 2,000 square foot high tunnel system. A High Tunnel System, commonly called a “hoop house,” is an increasingly popular conservation practice for farmers, and is available with financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). High tunnels protect plants from severe weather and allow farmers to extend their growing seasons – growing earlier into the spring, later into the fall, and sometimes, year-round. Because high tunnels prevent direct rainfall from reaching plants, farmers can use precise tools like drip irrigation to efficiently deliver water and nutrients to plants. High tunnels also offer farmers a greater ability to control pests and can even protect plants from pollen and pesticide drift.
“We strive to work in balance with the natural world and with wildlife,” wrote Jason Bzdula, Owner and Operator of Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm.
Jason is very passionate about conservation and strives to be a good steward of the natural world around him and in his agricultural business. This is shown throughout his property, as just about every inch is doing something. Aside from the many plants there is quietly hanging from a modest flagpole a pride flag, demonstrating another important aspect of his life, his true self. Jason is a member of the LGBTQI+ community in N.C.
Throughout the month of June, agencies across the USDA have recognized LGBTQI+ community through various events and activities. The LGBTQI+ community today proudly stands as a beacon of justice and self-acceptance within the walls of our organization and their acceptance across society has grown. But just as is true with any march toward civil rights, the battle has not been easy. It has taken courage, determination, and allyship to secure basic human rights like marriage-equality and employment protections. People like Jason shows that we as a nation depend on everyone from all walks of life to provide us with food, fiber, and fuel.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
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